British Gas will often bill their customers based on the meter reading taken from each house once every three-to-six months – depending on the agreement between the company and user. However, in many other cases bills are issued based on an estimate made by the company. This takes into account previous occupiers’ usage within the building – as well as the amount of gas and electric used by other buildings of similar type.
Often these estimates are inaccurate, resulting in a customer having to pay a much higher bill than they might have expected. The way to resolve the disparity between that and what they feel they should actually be paying is for the customer to take a meter reading and report it to British Gas.
Where is my meter?
Meters are often situated in a building’s basement or loft – although in reality their location is dependent on the specific piping and wiring of the house. It is important to distinguish the difference between meters as electricity readings are numerically much higher than gas – this is easy as typically a gas meter will only have four digits before any decimal point, should the display include one; an electric meter will have five.
Types of Gas meter
A digital gas meter will have five digits shown before a decimal point, with two further digits after that. An imperial meter will have four numbers in one colour with an additional two numbers after that typically being show in another – usually red. A dial meter will have four circular dials with numbers zero to nine around them; a central arrow will be pointing to a number on each dial.
Types of Electric Meter
Electric meters are distinguishable enough from gas meters so that the difference should be obvious. A single rate meter will typically consist of five digits in one colour with an additional one digit in a different colour – usually red. A two rate meter will have two displays that look the same as a single rate meter – not all two rate meters have two displays though; some will only have a single display but will have a button that can be pushed to alternate between figures. Dial meters meanwhile look similar to their gas meter counterparts, although they will have five dials instead of four.
How to read your meter
No matter what type of meter a house has, a gas reading should only be four digits long – ignore any additional numbers after reading the first four from left to right. An electric meter will only be five digits long so similar protocol should be followed – ignore any additional digits. This differs on two rate meters where both five-digit displays should be given as part of the same reading.
What to do afterwards
British Gas allow meter readings to be submitted online, where the company will then calculate an accurate cost based on the numbers given – however it is also possible to do this over telephone for a swift response to your query. It should be noted that by 2020 there is an aim to fit every UK home with a smart meter – these are electronic meters that send readings to a customer’s energy company ensuring that each household’s energy usage is tracked 24/7.
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